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King Hall Law School USENET FAQ Part 4 of 9

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              The King Hall Law School USENET FAQ Part 4 of 9
             Frequently Asked Questions at and about King Hall
                         (c) Copyright 1995 & 1996


                           David F. Prenatt, Jr.
                          King Hall, 1995 Alumnus
                         U.C. Davis School of Law
                         University of California
                           Davis, CA 95616-5210

                     < >

The King Hall Law School USENET FAQ (King Hall USENET FAQ) may be comprised
of more than one part.  If it is, please see the TABLE OF CONTENTS in Part
One for a complete list of the questions that have attempted to answer and
for other important legal information.  Caveat emptor:  I assume no
obligation for anyone through the publication of the King Hall USENET FAQ.
Furthermore, all versions of the King Hall USENET FAQ are my personal
property and are protected by applicable copyright laws.  All rights are
reserved except as follows:  I hereby give my permission to anyone who has
access to this version of the King Hall USENET FAQ to reproduce the
information contained herein for non-profit purposes, provided that proper
credit is given to me as the author of this FAQ and that I am promptly
notified of any use other than personal use.  I may revoke permission to
reproduce any version of this FAQ at any time.

- - - - - 
             The King Hall Law School USENET FAQ Part 4 of 9
             Frequently Asked Questions at and about King Hall
             (c) Copyright 1995 & 1996 by David F. Prenatt, Jr.  How important are the courses in Legal Research and Legal
          Writing? [Rev]

     You will probably not learn much in Legal Research (a one unit
     course), but don't blow it off.  Legal Research is the only "easy A"
     at King Hall.  [Note:  The structure of Legal Research changed as of
     Fall 1995, so it may no longer be an "easy A."]  Legal Writing, on the
     other hand, is probably the most difficult and important course you
     will encounter during your first year at King Hall.  In Legal Writing,
     you will learn the skills that you need to be a good attorney.  Thus,
     you should take Legal Writing very seriously, even though it is only a
     two unit course.
          Legal Writing is a lightning rod for most law students at King
     Hall.  After coming to terms with their first semester grades, law
     students must then endure the harsh criticism of the TAs who proofread
     Legal Writing assignments.  While some people tune in faster than
     others, no one is naturally skilled at legal writing.  Ironically, the
     best writers suffer the most because they are so defensive about their
     writing abilities.  However, virtually everyone will eventually
     acquire legal writing skills, leaving them to confront the harsh
     realities of proper citation form.
          The Bluebook is the standard for legal writing citation form in
     most law schools.  And while it is the first place that you should
     look when you have a question on citation form, it is not the final
     word on the subject.  Once you have determined what the Bluebook
     standard is, you must then consider the very real possibility that you
     are the only person who is aware of that standard (at least the only
     person that counts).  Even so, you must learn the rules before you can
     learn the exceptions.
          The Bluebook is the most poorly organized reference book that I
     have yet encountered.  In most instances, you must check three
     different sections of the Bluebook to determine which section contains
     the information that you need, with each of these sections containing
     a few cryptic clues that mean little or nothing by themselves.
     Accordingly, you should get your own copy of the Bluebook and
     incorporate your own handwritten cross-references in it.
          On the inside covers of the Bluebook, you will find the "Quick
     Reference" sections.  Nothing could be more of an oxymoron, and
     nothing could be further from the truth (if there is a de facto quick
     reference section in the Bluebook, it is the "Practitioner's Notes" on
     pp. 10-19).  While the Bluebook contains virtually all of the answers
     to your citation form questions, you must become intimately familiar
     with the entire contents of the Bluebook before the "Quick Reference"
     sections mean anything to you.  The best place to start this process
     is on page 21, Rule 1:  Structure and Use of Citations.  Keep reading
     until page 53.
          Once you have completed reading pages 21-53 of the Bluebook (and
     think that you understand them), you are ready to begin cross-
     referencing Short Citation Forms (Rule 4; pp. 39-42), Abbreviations,
     Numerals, and Symbols (Rule 6; pp. 46-48), and Capitalization (Rule 8;
     pp. 50-52).  These Rules are context specific (i.e., text vs.
     footnotes; court documents vs. law review articles), and they can be
     trumped by the person to whom you are submitting your work.  Every
     teacher, law review, law office, and court has its own idea about what
     constitutes proper citation form, specifically "parallel citations."
          When you find an authority that you will be citing in your legal
     writing, find out what the Bluebook says about proper citation form
     first.  Then, compare this information with the local rules, the local
     local rules, and observed practice.  Bring all of this information to
     the attention of the person who makes the final decision about proper
     citation form (i.e., your instructor/TA, your research editor, your
     boss/senior partner, or the court clerk), and ask him or her how he or
     she wants it done.  Be prepared to change your citation form when
     someone points out a rule or custom of which you were unaware.
          This process may seem tedious, but proper citation form is
     essential to the intellectual integrity of any and all legal writing.
     Proper abbreviations and capitalization form also demonstrate an eye
     for detail, and thus inspire confidence in the abilities of the person
     who is familiar with these items.  Most important, however, is the
     fact that proper citation form facilitates automated cite checking,
     keeping your legal authorities current and freeing up your time to do
     more important things.  What if I decide that I don't want to go to law school anymore?

     After you've started law school, it's too late to decide that you
     don't want to go.  Law school requires you to completely reorganize
     your life, and once you have begun law school, you should complete it.
     If you withdraw from law school, you will simply be throwing away good
     opportunities for which you have already paid dearly.  A law degree is
     a good credential to have, even if you learn nothing from law school
     other than that you don't want to be a lawyer.
          Some people encounter a personal hardship that prevents them from
     continuing with law school.  If this happens to you, you might be able
     to take some time off to set your life in order.  Most people whom I
     know who quit law school, however, do so because they are unhappy with
     the heavy workload and/or the grades that they receive.
          Law school is tedious and competitive for most people, but it
     doesn't have to be that way at King Hall.  Most students are able to
     pass their classes at King Hall with a modicum of effort (i.e.,
     attending class, reviewing course outlines, and practicing final
     exams).  The disappointment and tedium I witnessed in some of my more
     ambitious and competitive colleagues was the result of their using
     scholastic achievement as a measure of their self-worth (which is
     always a mistake).  As important as it may be to do well in law
     school, it is much more important to finish law school.
          During my first year of law school, I remember meeting a number
     of accomplished and successful alumni/alumnae who had very mediocre
     grades during law school.  For example, Clint Bolick (King Hall Class
     of 1982) told me and a number of other students that he had finished
     in the top 10% "of the bottom half of the bottom half" of his class
     before he went on to become the Vice President in Charge of Litigation
     for the Institute For Justice in Washington, D.C.  In other words, not
     everyone can excel in law school, and a mediocre performance in law
     school does not compromise your ability to make a name for yourself as
     a lawyer.  Many outstanding lawyers never even attended law school.  Can I repeat my courses?

     King Hall does have some provisions for students who want to repeat a
     course.  Specifically, if your GPA drops below 2.0 at the end of your
     first year, academic regulations require you to repeat many of your
     first year courses if you wish to continue your legal education at
     King Hall.  Similarly, if you receive an F in a course (a very rare
     occurrence) that is required for you to graduate, you must repeat that
     course; if you receive an F in a course that is not a graduation
     requirement, administrative regulations allow you to repeat that
     course with the permission of the Assistant Dean.  Contact Assistant
     Dean Antonia Bernhard (< >) at (916)752-
     0243 for more information.  Law school regulations do not state
     whether you can repeat other courses, so before you repeat any other
     courses check with Nicole Waterman ( < >)
     or Dian Francis (< >) in the King Hall
     Registrar's Office, in person or at (916)752-4299.  Should I complain if I am unhappy with my instructor?

     It depends upon why you are unhappy with your instructor.  If you
     think that your instructor is a bad teacher, that's a personal problem
     that you need to address.  I have never encountered a bad teacher that
     someone else didn't like.  On one occasion, the verdict on a visiting
     adjunct professor was virtually unanimous in that no one felt that the
     instructor was competent, and that professor was not invited back to
     King Hall again.
          If you are really unhappy with an instructor, you can usually
     drop the class and take it when another professor is teaching it.  If
     you need the class, however, that is a trade-off that you may need to
     make.  In any event, the grade distribution remains pretty standard.
          The administration at King Hall is very concerned about the
     quality of instruction.  Thus, you are given the opportunity to fill
     out anonymous instructor evaluations at the end of every semester.  I
     have never turned in a bad evaluation for an instructor, but many
     other people whom I know have, and in many instances they have come to
     regret it when they realize that they actually did learn a great deal
     from that professor.  Keep in mind that sometimes the subject matter
     of a particular course defies the capacity of an instructor to
     spoonfeed his or her students.
          Most of the people whom I know who complain about the quality of
     a professor's teaching think that they know more about the subject
     than the professor or think that they know more about how the subject
     should be taught than the professor does.  I have felt this way myself
     at times.  On very rare occasions I have come to the conclusion that
     attending some law school classes was a complete waste of time and
     that I learned certain subjects in spite of my instructors rather than
     from them.  However, I still attended all of my law school classes
     religiously, in case an instructor passed out a "silver bullet" that
     would help me on the final exam.

4.1.3)  OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER AS A FIRST YEAR LAW STUDENT.  Registration with the Committee of Bar Examiners.

     First year law students who intend to practice law in the state of
     California after graduation must register with the Committe of Bar
     Examiners shortly after they begin law school.  You will find forms
     for this in the Registrar's Office.  Take care of this as soon as
     possible to avoid late fees.  Where should I buy my books and supplies?

     You should be able to obtain all of your books and supplies at the
     Silo Bookstore.  However, you can probably find the books you need
     elsewhere for less.  For instance, America's Legal and Professional
     Bookstores at 725 J St in nearby Sacramento, (916)441-0410, does a
     greater volume than the Silo.  You should also post a list somewhere
     in the law school of the books that you want to buy and watch for
     lists that other people post of the books that they are selling.  Should I sign up for a bar review course during my first year
            of law school?

     Yes, even if you don't plan to take the bar exam.  When you sign up
     for a bar review course, you will obtain free outlines of your first
     year courses that will help you in preparing for your final exams.
     You may also be able to get a free bar review course by becoming a
     sales representative for one of the courses.  Which bar review course should I purchase?

     Most people purchase BarBri or Barpassers [Note: Barpassers has been
     purchased by Wests and renamed].  Given the choice, I signed up for
     Barpassers and later became a sales representative for Barpassers.  My
     preference should be obvious, but both of these courses are very good
     courses.  Check out all of the courses on the market and decide for
     yourself which one is best for you.  Some people whom I know even
     signed up for both BarBri and Barpassers to obtain all of the outlines
     that both courses offered and/or to play the two vendors against each
     other on course price.  FINDING SUMMER WORK.  How do I find summer work?

     Send out resumes to firms, government agencies, etc. that interest
     you, and do so promptly (ABA regulations prohibit you from doing so
     until close to the end of your first semester, so just get your resume
     in order).  Summer jobs for first year law students go very fast.  For
     more information, Contact Director of Career Services Jane Thomson
     (< >) at (916)752-6574.  Of course, she
     probably won't be interested in talking to you until sometime around
     November of your first year.  What if I can't find paid work?

     Volunteer.  You may also be able to find a fellowship to help you pay
     your way.  The King Hall Legal Foundation provides a number of grants
     specifically for such purposes.  One advantage of volunteering for
     summer work after your first year of law school is that you will not
     compromise the amount of your financial aid award during your third
     year.  For more information, contact the King Hall Financial Aid
     Director Lu Reed Bastian (< >) in person
     or at (916)752-6573.  Are there any career planning resources on the Internet? [New]

     Yes.  See Section 4.6.5 for information on career planning resources
     on the Internet.  SOCIAL LIFE AT KING HALL.  Is it a bad idea to date other law students?

     Yes.  Problems will arise even in the best relationships.  When they
     do, your classmates will become involved, and everyone will get hurt.
     Moreover, most romantic relationships in law school do not last.  When
     your former lover is a law student, you must confront him or her every
     day while you are in law school, not to mention the fact that you will
     probably know most of your classmates for over 40 years.
          The small size of the King Hall community makes dating your
     fellow law students even more complicated.  Consider that when Version
     1.1 of this FAQ was posted on the King Hall dayboard, some anonymous
     smart aleck crossed out the word "date" in this question and wrote in
     the word "stalk."  Res ipsa loquitor.
          Unfortunately, most of you will ignore and/or attempt to refute
     what I have written in this section.  And undoubtedly there will be
     many of you who will enter into committed relationships with other law
     students shortly after you arrive at King Hall.  And many of those
     relationships will flourish long after your departure from King Hall.
     But keep in mind that most of the law school relationships that do
     fail will fail miserably and quietly, so be modest about whatever
     success you do encounter in your romantic relationships with your
     fellow law students.  How do I avoid gossip at King Hall?

     You can't, and you are foolish to try.  People exchange a lot of
     information in law school, and gossip is included with this
     information.  However, you can avoid repeating unkind and unflattering
     gossip.  And if you exercise discretion, you will be amazed at the
     quantity and quality of information that people will share with you.
          As cynical as I am, one of the things that never ceases to amaze
     me is how two-faced some people can be.  I don't pretend to pass
     judgement on these people, however.  In fact, I depend upon the
     duplicity of many of my good friends to gain the trust of people who
     wish me ill.  On the other hand, the only reason that any of these
     people trust me is because they know that I will not reveal what I
     know or how I know it unless compelled to do so by the law or my
     professional ethics.  As a result, I always knew what people were
     saying about me and who was saying it.  What do I do if people spread a vicious rumor about me that is

     There is very little that you can do about vicious rumors about
     yourself at King Hall.  In any small community there are ignorant
     busybodies who falsely believe themselves to be among the enlightened
     and well-informed.  King Hall is no exception.  Generally speaking,
     these people have lives of their own that are so mediocre or tragic
     that they must poison the reputations of others to boost their own
          Don't think for a moment that there is honor among these gossips.
     After all, knowledge is power and power corrupts, so the malcontents
     who chime in today about your common enemy will tell tales out of
     school about you tomorrow.  If you are the victim of idle gossip,
     straighten out the record with your close personal friends; they will
     take care of the rest when you are not around.
          The term idle gossip is difficult to define.  After all, it's a
     matter of perspective.  If you are among the enlightened and well-
     informed and your sources are reliable, then you are performing a
     valuable community service as a purveyor of accurate information.  On
     the other hand, if you are an unwitting victim of hidden agendas
     (i.e., most of us), you are receiving incomplete and inaccurate
     information from your sources, and you will do irreparable harm to the
     reputation of others when you repeat a rumor.
          I always asked myself three questions about any rumor that I
     heard at King Hall:

          1) Is it kind?,

          2) Is it true?, and

          3) Is it necessary to repeat it?

     Even when you repeat the truth, you can intrude upon people's personal
     lives.  This makes enemies out of people who would otherwise be your
     friends and who would be willing to help you when you need help the
     most (and you never know who or when that will be).
          Gossips are the worst kind of false friends.  None of the secrets
     that you share with them are confidential.  On the other hand, silence
     is a friend that will never betray you.  What should I do if I experience some form of harassment at
            King Hall, sexual or otherwise?

     Depending upon the seriousness of the situation, you should file a
     grievance with the administration at King Hall.  I experienced
     harassment myself at King Hall, sexual and otherwise, and I learned
     that even the nicest people can sometimes be very vicious.  In most
     instances, I was able to resolve it informally.  I simply confided in
     someone whom I knew I could trust about what I was experiencing
     (preferably someone in a position of authority who could later be used
     as a mediator if necessary) and steered clear of the perpetrator until
     he or she offered me an apology or explanation (or until he or she
     started treating me with respect and consideration).  Avoiding a
     perpetrator, however, is not always a viable option in a small, close-
     knit community like King Hall, and a formal grievance may be in order.
          Just as important as what to do when you experience some form of
     harassment is how to conduct yourself if you are accused of being a
     perpetrator.  Unfortunately, one person's good clean fun or harmless
     flirtation is another person's harassment.  If you find out that you
     have done anything to offend anyone at King Hall, even if it is just a
     misunderstanding, you should apologize IMMEDIATELY to that person and
     avoid him or her from that point forward.
          The people whom I have met at King Hall are typically very
     forgiving.  In most instances, they will appreciate a courteous
     apology and extend an olive branch to you once they have cooled off.
     Depending upon the seriousness of the situation, however, you should
     also consider seeking legal advice.  Whether or not you think that you
     have done anything wrong, law school types can be very litigious.
          My experience with both perpetrators and victims of harassment
     who have confided in me has led me to believe that there is no
     reliable method of divining who is telling the truth.  Liars can be
     very convincing (more so than honest people), and you certainly cannot
     trust the many rumors that abound because most people (law students
     included) have an insatiable appetite for vicious gossip.  The more
     that people talk about a situation involving some form of harassment,
     the more lurid and convoluted the rumors get.  Many innocent people
     are falsely accused (a form of harassment itself), and many actual
     victims of harassment are not believed (which adds insult to injury);
     sometimes the roles of victim and perpetrator are even reversed in the
     retelling.  Worse yet, many perpetrators get away with harassment when
     there is no doubt about what actually happened (i.e., the victim is
     blamed for inviting or creating a situation or for overreacting).  What do One Ls do for fun?

     There are a large number of social gatherings every month, if not
     every week (every day, if you live in the dorms), most with alcoholic
     beverages as the main attraction (notwithstanding the University's
     prohibition on advertising on campus the fact that alcohol will be
     served at an event).  Many law student organizations have potlucks as
     well.  But by far the biggest social activity is amateur sports.  A
     large number of law students are former college athletes (some better
     than others).  Volleyball, softball, and basketball seem to be the
     most popular law school team sports; a softball league usually forms
     during the first month of classes.  And yes, skill is optional.  MOOT COURT.  Moot Court Clerking.

     One Ls are usually invited by the Moot Court Board to act as time
     keepers during oral arguments.  This is an excellent opportunity for
     One Ls to find out what Moot Court is all about.  Moot Court Team Tryouts.

     Notwithstanding the year long Appellate Advocacy program, One Ls may
     qualify for various moot court teams at the end of their first year
     for participation on these teams during their second year.  Watch for
     bulletins about the various moot court team tryouts.

- - - - -

End of document:

              The King Hall Law School USENET FAQ Part 4 of 9
             Frequently Asked Questions at and about King Hall
                         (c) Copyright 1995 & 1996


                           David F. Prenatt, Jr.
                          King Hall, 1995 Alumnus
                         U.C. Davis School of Law
                         University of California
                           Davis, CA 95616-5210

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